The NRL has drawn up a worst-case scenario resulting from ASADA’s investigation.
With the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority’s (ASADA) showing no signs of reaching a conclusion, NRL chief executive David Smith has been forced to plan for a doomsday scenario, reports SMH.com.au.
Despite the season being just two rounds old, Smith said the competition is drawing up a number of contingencies in case most of an entire club is banned on the eve of the grand final.
“We have done a number of contingency plans in the background in terms of the information in front of us, we’ve got any potential scenario covered,” Smith said.
“I don’t know enough of the (doping) details to know whether we will get to a historic forfeit of a grand final. But we would have to look at it if a number of players were banned for taking performance-enhancing drugs.”
Under ASADA’s rules a player may still take the field until his case is heard, however, if the same player is rubbed out by the NRL doping tribunal then the team’s competition points are at risk.
This could result in a team being barred from taking part in a grand final if the ruling became final in the countdown to the biggest game of the year.
However, if it became clear that most of a side could be suspended because of their part in the scandal the NRL would strip them of all accumulated pints to date in the season and prevent them from earning any more, thus denying them a chance of playing in the finals.
The most recent precedent for such action was when the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal broke, resulting in the club to play of the rest of the season for no reward.